“Midway on Life’s journey I found myself in a dark wood where the right way was wholly lost and gone.”
So begins Dante’s descent into hell. Recently I was considering what subject to select in my series of evenings on the Soul Journey and the idea of getting stuck popped into my mind. We all get stuck at times but often we don’t even realize that we are mired in a slough.
So what are the symptoms that can accompany stuckness? They include:
1) Withdrawal of energy or life force.
2) Ennui – a sense of boredom, listlessness and dissatisfaction.
3) A lack of focus and motivation.
4) Lethargy and inertia.
5) Life becomes dominated by distractions e.g. TV, mindless behaviours, computer games.
Recently I was exploring with a friend her sense of frustration at her life due to a change in her financial circumstances.
I suggested there were three possibilities:
- “Shit Happens” – sometimes there is no evident rhyme nor reason to our changing circumstances. We just have to accept and move on.
- We are being asked to live a new state of surrender to the situation, letting go of the old and accepting the new.
- There is a deeper meaning we are being asked to explore. The circumstances have developed to help us open to something new to which we may be in resistance.
I believe we should always make an attempt to check and explore whether there is meaning as the other two strategies are doomed to failure if we are actually in resistance to our own good.
As I am reflecting on the subject I realize to my chagrin and some amusement that I too am stuck. Recently I had a bladder infection. It was painful, accompanied by fever and blood in my urine, which of course caused me to rush off to the doctor who prescribed a dose of heavy-duty antibiotics.
The next week I was listless, unable to focus, I was lethargic and watched a lot of comfort TV. (In my case hours of British mysteries on Knowledge network)
It never entered my head that there may be more to it. I had assumed it was a small taste of what getting older would feel like when the health one has taken for granted is compromised.
However I notice I am still struggling with some of the symptoms of being stuck even though I have completed the antibiotics. I decide to read my I Ching. (The I Ching is an ancient Chinese divining system that involves throwing three coins six times to form a hexagram that is then interpreted in a guide.)
I draw “Taming of the Power of the Great” The theme is that in the face of rising tension; keep still. Spiritual understanding not practiced under fire is without value. We must apply our knowledge in trying situations.
It is immediately clear to me that I had failed to do draw on my “Soul Rescue Kit”. This kit is a compendium of what feeds me when I am stuck? It includes music, contemplation, beauty, poetry, chanting, contemplation, and a review of my Soul Book. (A journal that contains inspiring stories, quotes and poems.) However once again I had resisted that which would benefit my inner journey by substituting activity. It is a source of constant bewilderment that I fall into the same old patterns.
I suggested a practice to create a specific Soul Rescue Kit. We used the active imagination and working with creating images around the theme “What Feeds Me?” The result was pertinent for each of the group. “Light. Love, Beauty, and Music were the common themes.
We cannot avoid getting stuck at times, what we can do is bring consciousness and practice to the situation as opposed to slipping into old patterns. As Rumi once said, “The real truth of existence is sealed until after many twists and turns of the road. The seeker says had I know the real way it was I would have stopped looking around. But that way of knowing depends on the time spent looking.”